Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Relationship

Why Our Kids Are Not Our Priority

It wasn’t always that way, just so you know.

Before our eldest son was born, my husband and I were the best of friends. While we did almost everything together, we still had our own space so that strengthened our friendship, I guess. What I love the most about us then was how we could talk about literally anything. Every day, there was something we talked about – we shared our thoughts on it, we compared what we knew about it, we argued when we had different opinions, and at the end of the day, we would come to a conclusion on what we talked about.

Sure you might think that sounded serious, but when I said we could talk about literally anything, I really do mean anything. I remember once how we spent several hours arguing if a snail without its shell is naked or homeless.

When our son was born, things sort of took a turn.

It was fine for the first couple of weeks because I just got back from the hospital and I had help for the first few days I was home. Then slowly the truth of how we’re parents now started to dawn on us. I find myself constantly pushing myself to keep up with my son’s needs in between juggling housework. My husband felt the sudden importance of earning because now we got extra things to pay for for our son.

Along the way, our eyes were set only on our son.

Every single thing revolved around him. Me taking a shower? It had to be while he was asleep. My husband needed to go out and get some bread and eggs? It had to be after my son was fed and burped so I could take a minute of sleep while he slept. Our sex life? Had to be scheduled when our son was in his deep sleep.

It was okay, I guess, for us to go through all that because we thought that’s how our lives were going to be from that moment on. I mean, hey, after all, we have a son now. We can’t exactly go out whenever we want anymore, right?

Wrong.

Turned out making our son’s (and soon our other kids’) needs as our priority was one of the most damaging things that ever happened in our relationship.

From the best of friends, we tried so hard to be the best parents. To be the best parents, we believe in being attentive to our kids, attending to all their rational needs, we believe in being there for them.

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What we forgot to do was being attentive to each other. We forgot to attend to our rational needs. We forgot to be there for each other.

In the chaos and pressure of looking after our kids, we forgot to look at each other.

Our sights were dead set on our kids, we neglected each other. Our attention was so focused on our kids, we lost track of each other’s lives. Our thoughts, passion, and hope were directed to our kids, we lost our own way to each other’s mind and heart.

Being parents to two kids (then) was so crazy for us that at one point, I realized that we have not touched each other for almost a month. I’m not talking about sexual caresses or romantic cuddling; the actual human physical contact was gone between us and it was only after a month I realized it.

I was watching the TV while our kids were in bed and my husband fell asleep on the couch next to me. I turned to look at him and I realized how much I miss the man who was sleeping right next to me. I forgot how warm his hands were, I forgot how he looked when he smiled, I forgot how safe I felt when he hugged me. As much as I wanted to lie down on his chest while he slept, I was more taken aback by how I was afraid he might react. It literally felt as if I were to lie down on a stranger’s chest on the subway.

The next morning I told my husband how I felt when he was asleep on the couch last night and while I was ready to hear him say he was too tired from working, I didn’t expect him to look at me under hooded eyes and said he felt the same way too. To be honest, I would’ve preferred to hear him raise his voice complaining that I didn’t understand his workload than it was to hear his quiet voice telling me I felt like a stranger to him too.

That very weekend, we decided we needed a break from our kids.

I battled guilt and shame for wanting time alone with my husband. I came up with hundreds of scenarios to tell my mother she needed to watch over the kids while my husband and I had to attend “a function.” I packed and repacked our kids things before we dropped them at my mom’s place. I almost told my husband we should skip going out because I was feeling too guilty about leaving my kids behind for no apparent reason.

But that’s just the thing. We had a strong reason to go out.

We were falling apart.

We thought having kids would bring us closer, but all it ever did was sent us down different paths, further and further away from each other each day. We had to do something before we were too far away from each other and could not see a way back home.

Our first date night felt extremely awkward. We both rushed through dinner, quickly finished our drinks, and went for a quick stroll, each tried to discreetly check our watches. We talked, yes. But it wasn’t like any of our talks before. It felt scripted, it felt forced. When we finally picked up our kids from my mom’s, I swear to God I heard my husband sighed a tiny relief.

However, the next day, my husband came and hugged me around the waist while I was cleaning up after our breakfast.

He told me he actually had a nice night and he felt bad for feeling rushed and wanting to be home quick. I told him I felt the same way and he told me we should go out again that weekend.

Our second date was definitely more relaxed. We took our time finishing our meals, we enjoyed our drinks, and after our stroll, we even stopped for some coffee. And we held hands while we were drinking coffee.

I can’t tell you how much I felt like myself again. That night on the way home, I cried and told him how I miss him and how I wish we could be like how we were before. I hated leaving our kids at my mom’s, but I hated it more that I feel like I don’t have my husband with me anymore. My husband called my mom and said we were not picking our kids up that night and we would be there first thing the next day. To my surprise, my mother didn’t make any fuss and said it was getting rather late and she hated to wake the kids up.

With tears and snot running down my face, I realized that it was late. I forgot to look at my watch during our date and I didn’t feel the hours passed at all. Just the way it was when it was just the two of us before kids.

Ever since that night, we realized how making our kids’ needs our only priority was damaging to the both of us.

Choosing to spend time with each other doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to our kids. Having some alone time doesn’t mean we don’t need to take care of our kids. Putting ourselves before our kids doesn’t mean we’re selfish.

And being able to have regular date nights ever since then actually made us better parents. We’re not stressful when we’re facing challenges with our kids, we’re not losing our temper as often as we did before, we could laugh more, we talk better to our kids, and our kids somehow behave better too.

We can really see how they are happy when my husband and I are truly happy.

I used to feel guilty and embarrassed for wanting time for my husband and I. I used to feel that I shouldn’t feel too free anymore now that I’m a mother. I used to think people would think I’m a bad mother if I want to go out for a movie with my husband.

Not anymore.

I feel free to be who I am not because I’m in denial I’m a mother and I want none of the motherly restraints.

I am free to be who I am because I know by taking care of our happiness and priorities first, I can definitely be a better mother to our kids.

 

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Posted in Parenting

Is Santa Real?

The kids have been watching Christmas movies for several days now and we’ve been talking about Christmas for quite a bit.

Sophea: Mommy, why our house don’t have a Christmas tree?
Me: Because we don’t celebrate Christmas.
Sophea: But I like Santa.
Me: You don’t have to celebrate Christmas to like Santa. A lot of people like Santa.
Sophea: Yes, because he’s so cute.
Me: Hahahaha that’s right. He is cute.
Sophea: Will Santa come to our house?
Me: No. Because Santa is not a real person.
Sophea: Santa is dead?
Me: No, no. Santa is not real because anyone can wear the red suit and be Santa.
Sophea: So Santa is pretending?
Me: Well, Santa can’t pretend because he’s not real. But there are people who wear the red suit and be Santa for other people, especially kids.
Sophea: So Santa is lying?
Me: No, it’s like this. You know how sometimes you guys wear pirate hats and all that and pretend to be pirates? It’s like that.
Sophea: But why people wear a Santa suit?
Me: Because it can make some people happy.
Sophea: What people?
Me: There are people who don’t have enough food or toys. So on Christmas, there are people who wear a Santa suit and give food and toys to these people so they can be happy because sometimes, for them, Christmas is the only time they get more food and toys.
Sophea: But why they have to wear Santa suit? Can they wear a pirate suit?
Me: Yes, they can. It’s just Santa makes a lot of people feel happy. You know how Daddy likes Mommy wears the blue dress? Because it makes Daddy happy to see me? It’s like that. Some people feel happy when they see a person in a Santa suit.
Sophea: If we give food and toys to people, are we Santa?
Me: Maybe they think we are. But we don’t have to wear the Santa suit to give people food or toys.
Sophea: So people wear Santa suit so they can make people see who is in their heart?

At this point, I just can’t. I was literally tearing up because I thought I was teaching her something, but as always, it’s the other way around.

Posted in General, Motherhood

Looks Like 2015 Has Just Started

Oh, wow.

Things have been slow for me.

It seems like finally 2015 has decided to wake up and start. It’s been hell for the past 3 months, and I thought things are going to be the same way as it was last year. But thank God, so far things are finally picking up.

My eldest is starting school next year, and I don’t know who’s more excited. I mean, I’m nervous as hell too, but I’m excited as well because he gets to go to school and see what’s it like for himself. Though we wanted to homeschool him, Eros has been asking about going to school so often that we feel he would not be happy if he doesn’t.

Mohen decided that Eros is going to go to school for the experience. Since both of us are leaning more towards homeschooling and we’re not putting pressure on our kids to get good grades, we feel school would be a good environment for him to develop other skills that we can’t teach at home.

It would be good for him, I believe, because we’re going to teach him more at home and let him have fun at school. I know our schools here pay too much attention on how many As a student gets, but I guess as long as Eros knows we don’t measure him with that, it should be okay for him.

Work is slowly picking up for me too. I’m getting more writing projects, and I’m getting several steady clients. So I guess that’s good. Though I wish I can take a long, long, long break, I know I need to push through at the moment. I can’t wait for Mohen and I to go on a holiday, just the two of us, like how we had our holidays before the kids come along.

I won’t speak too soon to say that 2015 is going to be great for me, but as long as it’s better than last year, I’m happy enough. As long as I have the things that I need to make it through the day, I’m more than happy.

How’s your 2015 looking so far?

Posted in Marriage, Relationship

Dear Some Men,

Dear some men,

 

I know you work hard to provide for the family. I know you have millions of things on your mind about where the money goes and you worry about how much you have left at the end of the month.

 

But take some time to look at your wife.

 

Look at her as a person that’s busting her chops to keep the house clean, look at her as a person that’s running around sending kids to school and going to the market to get groceries and hope she will be back home on time to cook lunch. Look at your wife as the person that wakes up before everyone else and sleeps only after everyone has gone to bed.

 

She looks to you as her support, but do you feel that you’re there for her as much as you expected her to be there for you? She looks to you as her rock, but do you anchor her to her feet so she doesn’t lose her mind or are you only weighing her down?

 

There are so many wives who are depressed because her husband don’t lift a finger around the house. There are so many wives that filed for divorce because she can’t take doing everything on her own when that one person she counts on doesn’t even say thank you for what she does.

 

If you ask her, she doesn’t really care if you make RM1000 per month or RM10,000 at that.

 

She works at the office just as you do too. She gets stressed out over a dumb colleague as well. She gets pissed off at her boss too. She gets caught up in the traffic jam just as you’re making your way home from the office as well.

 

She wants you to see her as a person, as a woman who dedicated her life to serve you and make you happy. She doesn’t want to be made to feel like a maid in her own house. She does the cleaning and the cooking out of love. She understands that’s her job and she understands that you expected her to do all that.

 

She understands what you have to go through and she expects you to understand her as well. She never complains she has to cook, she never complains she has to fold a mountain of laundry, although if you ask her, she would rather sit and do nothing. Of course she would not tell you this because she knows your expectations of her.

 

Just as she expected you to appreciate her. Just as she expected you to hug her and say thank you. Just as she expected you to give her 10 minute break once in a while.

 

Wives know that their husbands can change a diaper, wives know their husbands know where the broom and mop are kept, wives know their husbands can take care of the children and the house without them despite people always degrading men as caretakers.

 

She just wants to know that she’s not alone in this thing because marriage is about working together as a team. Not a one (wo)man show.

 

Just a thank you and a hug will do. And yes, please take out the garbage too, while you’re at it.

 

Posted in Marriage, Motherhood, Parenting, Relationship

Another Year Gone, Another One Approaches

Another few days to 2014.

Where the heck did the time go? I remember when I was little feeling like the year will never end. Now I didn’t even know where each day went.

Despite waking up every morning not knowing whether I can make it through the day with so many things happening around me and challenging me to push through harder than the day before, I’m glad that I always wake up to people that I love – my kids and Mohen.

As I grow older, my new year resolutions get less fancy. I used to want to travel to certain countries before the year ends. I used to want to be able to play the violin before the year ends. Now I just want to make it through the day so my kids have something to eat and so that I’m given another chance to wake up the next day.

Am I scared of 2014?

For the first time in my life, I’m scared of the future. For the first time I feel that fear of not knowing what’s going to happen next. For the first time, I’m scared of “seizing the day”.

While there were so many people that helped me through 2013, I felt that I’ve done my share in helping others too. I helped a depressed friend who was on the verge of suicide, I helped a grieving mother who felt like she wasn’t good enough to be one, I helped a friend who felt he’s worth nothing in this world.

I know I don’t ask anything in return in helping others but I wonder who’s going to save me in 2014. I have never counted on anyone else but myself to make something happen but to be frank, I’ve never felt helpless and hopeless as I did this year.

I guess for 2014 I just want to be able to breathe easy again, to laugh genuinely again, to feel light again and to see Mohen smile again.

I hope I’m strong enough for 2014.

 

Posted in Children, Marriage, Parenting

The Way Kids See It

We were watching Mrs. Doubtfire few nights ago. Robin Williams was packing his stuff in the car and hugging his kids goodbye.

Eros: Where is Daddy going?
Me: He’s going to live in a new house.
Eros: But why?
Me: Because Mommy and Daddy had a big fight so now they want to take time away from each other to think.
Eros: But why?
Me: Sometimes when Mommy and Daddy fight, they can get very angry at each other. So if they are away from each other, maybe they can think better.
Eros: But what about the kids?
Me: Yeah, they have to stay with Nani first.
Eros: But Mommy and Daddy have to stay together.
Me: Not all the time. Sometimes when Mommy and Daddy don’t love each other anymore, they don’t stay together.
Eros: But how can Mommy and Daddy don’t love each other?
Me: Sometimes you stop loving someone after so many things happened and you get tired of fighting. They can become better Mommy and Daddy if they don’t stay together.
Eros: But why Mommy and Daddy fight?
Me: Sometimes because we are tired. Sometimes because we are angry at each other for not being there. Sometimes we just get hurt because we feel alone.
Eros: Hm, why big people like to think so much? Must be like Eros. Eros always angry with Sophia but Eros still love Sophia so much.

I can only nod.

 

Posted in Home Made, Motherhood

Foolproof Sugar Cookies Recipe

Preparation time: 30 – 40 minutes
Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes

I made some sugar cookies last night.

This recipe is something of my own mix because I’ve been trying several sugar cookies recipes around to see which one I like best. In the end, I made my own mix using the things I like best from each recipe.

I filed it under my Domestic Tab and you can find it here – Simple Sugar Cookies.

For this recipe, I’ve tried changing the normal butter to vegetable butter (in my effort to be a vegetarian) and it tastes just as great. So I guess these cookies are vegan-friendly too!